Janina Ochojska-Okońska

Born: 12 March 1955
Nationality: Polish

Janina Ochojska-Okonska is a polish social activist and a founder of the Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH) non-governmental organisation whose mission is "to make the world a better place through alleviation of human suffering and promotion of humanitarian values".

Born and raised in Gdańsk, as a child she contracted polio disease and spent most of her childhood submitted to medical treatments and rehabilitation programmes.


In the late 1970s, she got involved in democratic opposition, participating in the creation of a branch of the Polish Independent Self-governing Trade Union Solidarity in Toruń. After martial law was imposed in Poland (December 1981) she worked in a local committee helping people who suffered from governmental oppression.


In 1984, she went to France where she decided to volunteer in a humanitarian aid organisation EquiLibre. In 1989, she created a Polish branch of te EquiLibre. In 1992, she organised one of the first convoys of humanitarian aid destined to former Yugoslavia.


In 1994, the EquiLibre Polisch branch evolved in to the Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH) which Janina was leading. PAH helps people in crisis to become self-reliantand regain responsibility for their own futures as soon as possible. At the same time, the charity concentrates its efforts on Polish society, with a view to create humanitarian attitudes and a modern culture of aid. The guiding principle of PAH is to act efficiently in due respect of human dignity and provide aid regardless of nationality, race, religion, or party of conflict.


Janina Ochojska-Okonska is a laureate of numerous Polish and international awards, including, the Ecce Homo Award, The National Order of the Legion of Honour and The Order of the Smile (an international award given by children to adults distinguished in their love, care and aid for children).

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